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Hi Fu Mi Hachigaeshi no Shirabe (Kinko Ryu)

一二三鉢返の調

This is a piece of genre Koten in the style of Takuhatsu from the Kinko Ryû - 琴古流 School.

History (John Singer):

This piece can also be called "Hifumi Hachigaeshi" and it consists of two pieces respectively called "Hifumi No Shirabe" (Beginning) and "Hachigaeshi" (Returning the Bowl, A thanks for Alms Revived).

Originally the term Shirabe meant to check the sounds and move into the proper frame of mind before performing Honkyoku. Thus, "Hifumi No Shirabe" was not considered to be an independent piece. Musically, "Shirabe" does not have many variations and is subdued in nature as is also the case with "Hachigaeshi" which is why both pieces have been combined. "Hachigaeshi" means to give thanks for alms received (literally meaning 'returning the bowl'). This piece consists of

1. The first half of Hifumi No Shirabe
2. Hachigaeshi
3. The second half of Hifumi No Shirabe

Sometimes the music notes (Ire-Te) of Araki Chikuo are inserted between parts 2 and 3. Hifumi Hachigaeshi originally was not considered to be a part of the Kinko Ryu Honkyoku repertoire. However, nowadays it has become not only a requirement but also the representative piece of the Kinko Ryu Honkyoku.

Hi Fu Mi Hachigaeshi no Shirabe (Kinko Ryu) appears on the following albums

AlbumShakuhachiKotoShamisen
Ajikan Taniguchi Yoshinobu

    This piece was transmitted through the Fudaiji Temple in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture. Fudaiji was a branch of the famous Ichigetsuji Temple where Kurosawa Kinko, founder of the Kinko sect of shakuhachi, resided.

    This honkyoku is actually made up of two songs, Hi Fu Mi no Kyoku and Hachigaeshi no Kyoku. "Hi Fu Mi" simply means "1, 2, 3" and stands for the musical scale, so can be translated as "do, re, mi". "Hachigaeshi" is the act of a monk showing gratitudeexpressed here by blowing shakuhachi - after receiving alms (hodokoshi). "Kyoku" simply means "song".

    Hi Fu Mi Hachigaeshi is a basic warm up piece used for learning the beginning techniques of honkyoku and also for netori or "tuning up" to check one's pitch. It is thought that if one learns to play this song, all the other Kinko ryu honkyoku are possible as Hi Fu Mi Hachigaeshi includes most of the basic techniques.

Castles In the Sky Allen Nyoshin Steir

Complete Collection of Honkyoku from the Kinko School - Vol 1 - Disc 2 Aoki Reibo II

Empty Bell, The David Duncavage

    This honkyoku contains the ancient piece which the komuso played while begging for rice. Understanding the gratitude of the monk receiving rice plays a central role in performing this honkyoku.

Hogaku Meikyoku Sen; Shakuhachi Yamaguchi Goro

Japanese Bamboo Flute Richard Stagg

Japanese Traditional Shakuhachi Yokoyama Katsuya

    Kanto district origin. The first piece of the thirty-six Honkyoku melodies of the Kinko-school. Played while the priest was asking for alms.

Jin Nyodo No Shakuhachi 04 Jin Nyodo

    Kinko-ryu: HI-FU-MI HACHIGAESHI-NO-SHIRABE

    1-shaku 8-sun
    11 min. 2 sec.

    1. About the title:

    This piece represents one kind of shirabe. It combines Hi-Fu-Mi Shirabe and Hachigaeshi ("returning the bowl"), which was played when a priest received his begging bowl back. In addition it also has an irete (interpolation) by Araki Chikuo.

    2. Structure of the piece

    The structure is [I (the first half of Hi-Fu-Mi Shirabe) - II (hachigaeshi) - III (the irete by Chikuo) - IV (the second half of Hi-Fu-Mi Shirabe)]. Because Hi-Fu-Mi Shirabe does not have any high points and has no clear-cut form, the insertion of the hachigaeshi, which begins with a takane, gives the more stable structure of low - high - low. Therefore it is only natural that the one-piece form of Hi-Fu-Mi Hachigaeshi-no-Shirabe which utilizes the hachigaeshi is the one that has taken root.

    3. Special features of the piece:

    As a basis of Kinko-ryu this piece is compulsory for study. In terms of melodic pattern or the pace of the composition, it is a classical Kinko-ryu honkyoku and is representative of its type. In comparison with other schools, some special features of melody include the frequency of that form where as the melody ends, the chin is lowered so that the ending is played with meri; another is the frequent use of meri-playing with (lowered) chin when each melody shifts from the first tone to the second.

    To continue, the following are special characteristics of Kinko-ryu honkyoku in general:

    a. In distinction from honkyoku of the Tohoku style that has a clear-cut jo-ha-kyu structure, these pieces either have a plateau-like structure that contains several peaks or else they move in a meandering manner.

    b. They have little extreme of fast or slow rhythm; the whole piece progresses quietly with a feeling of rather uniform rhythm.

    c. The melodic patterns are somewhat limited, without any large phrase units; rather, smaller units are combined and altered, and are repeated while undergoing variation.

    As a result of the above features all the pieces of Kinko-ryu tend to sound rather similar with a few exceptions such as Shika-no-Tone with its rich variety of melodies, and San'ya-Sugagaki or Akita-Sugagaki with their distinctive rhythmical feeling.

Katsuya Yokoyama Plays Shakuhachi - 1 Yokoyama Katsuya

    Kanto district origin. The first piece of the thirty-six Honkyoku melodies of the Kinko-school. Played while the priest was asking for alms.

Kinko Ryu Honkyoku - 2 Aoki Reibo II

Kinko Ryu Shakuhachi - Hogaku Vol 19 Yamaguchi Goro

Kinko Ryu Shakuhachi - Koten Honkyoku - Kindai Shakuhachi Gaku Notomi Judo II

Kinko Ryu Shakuhachi Honkyoku Notomi Judo I

Kinko Ryu Shakuhachi Honkyoku Senshu - 1 Aoki Reibo II

Kinko Ryu Shakuhachi Meikyoku Sen Yamaguchi Goro


Makoto Shinjitsu - with a heart of true sincerity Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin

    This interesting honkyoku was often played by komuso in front of houses, in order to take the problems of the ailing person of the house upon himself. It is made up of two different shorter pieces. The HiFuMi or "1,2,3" melody is used as a warm up, to flex the fingers and calm the mind; next is the Hachikaeshi or "Returning the Bowl" melody which describes the actions of the komuso as he receives alms in his bowl. This is then followed by a section of music where he plays his gratitude on the shakuhachi; and finally, the "1,2,3" melody returns to form the conclusion. This piece is not a Meian style honkyoku, but rather a piece in the Kinko school (or Kinko-Ryu style). It is played in an attempt to take the problems upon himself.

Music of the Shakuhachi Ralph Samuelson

    This piece was collected and arranged by Kinko Kurosawa (1710-1771), an important player and teacher in the Fuke sect.

    Hi Fu Mi (One, Two, Three) is an introductory section to warm up the instrument and to attain concentration of mind.

    Hachigaeshi (Return the Bowl) is a song that was traditionally played by the komuso in soliciting alms. They would receive a bowl of rice in exchange for playing the piece.


Night of the Garuda Christopher Yohmei Blasdel


Priests and Samurai Ryan Sullivan

    Played on Tom Deaver 1.8 #1


Shakuhachi - Japanese Traditional Music Notomi Judo I

    "Hi-Fu-Mi Hachigaeshi no Shirabe" is actually two pieces put together as one. “Hi-Fu-Mi" is what is known as a choshi, or short prelude, found in many genres of Japanese music such as gagaku or noh which sets the mood, determines the pitch, and opens a door through which the listeners and players can enter the world of the honkyoku. "Hachigaeshi no Shirabe" is an example of ritual honkyoku music. Fuke shakuhachi players were monks and, of course, had to beg for their food. Hachigaeshi (literally, "returning the bowl") was a piece played after receiving alms, in gratitude for the food. This piece is played as a solo.


Shakuhachi Bell John Singer

    This piece, consisting of two pieces, Hifumi No Shirabe and Hachigaeshi can also be called Hifumi Hachigaeshi. The term Shirabe means to check the sounds and move the performer into the proper frame of mind before performing other Honkyoku pieces. Hachigaeshi means to give thanks for alms received (literally meaning returning the bowl).

Shakuhachi no Shinzui-Shakuhachi Honkyoku - 01 Yamaguchi Goro

Shakuhachi Nyumon Yamaguchi Goro

Shika no Tone Shakuhachi Koten Meikyoku Shusei - 2 Yokoyama Katsuya

    (One, two, three, return the bowl)

    This piece was played by the Komuso or priest expressing his gratitude when he returned the bowl to the house owner after receiving alms.


Spirit of Wind, The Iwamoto Yoshikazu

    The present piece consists of two original melodies: "Hifumi" (One-two-three), a basic tune, played in a lower register, and "Hachigaeshi" (Return of the Bowl), played in the upper register. "Hachigaeshi" was played by the komuso as an act of thanks when receiving a donation. The fact that both melodies have the same ending enabled "Hachigaeshi" to be inserted into the middle of "Hifumi" by superimposing the common ending. In this way the two pieces were made into one to form a long and well structured composition. This practice has been traditional for over a century. The piece originated in old Tokyo area.

Sui Zen - Blowing Meditation on the Shakuhachi - 03 Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin

    Hi Fu Mi Hachikaeshi can be translated as "One, Two, Three, Return the Bowl." It is also called Hi Fu Mi Hachikaeshi No Shirabe, or One, Two, Three, Return the Bowl, with an opening section," since it begins with its own internal shirabe, or introductory section. The piece continues from a simple "one, two, three" melody that moves to a hachikaeshi (returning the bowl) section, such as was traditionally played when the begging bowl was returned. This is followed by an irete (interpolation) attributed to Araki Chikuo, and then returns to a repetition of the hachikaeshi.

    It is important to note that the priest playing shakuhachi in front of a door was not just asking for rice in a bowl. Acting as a bodhisattva or enlightened being, the priest would also request that people give him their problems, so he could take them on himself.

    This is actually a combination of three different pieces, one of which - the Hi, Fu, Mi, (hitotsu, futatsu, mitsu, or one, two, three) melody - is a very simple beginner's level piece. This simple melody serves as a frame, starting and ending the piece. The hachikaeshi, which begins with a takane, has a low-high-low structure, and gives form and special interest to the piece.

    Hi Fu Mi comes from the Fudaiji Temple in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture. This was a branch of the famous Ichigetsuji Temple, where Kinko Kurasawa resided. Although the piece was not originally a part of the Kinko repertoire, today it is considered to be a good example of a typical Kinko honkyoku, and is the first, basic, compulsory piece. However, it is also noted that in mastering Hi Fu Mi Hachikaeshi, a student, essentially, masters the basics of all Kinko honkyoku. Its distinctive features are its three-part structure and the frequent use of meri notes and merikomi, the lowering of the head at the end of notes.

Tajima Tadashi Shakuhachi no Sekai III Tajima Tadashi

True Spirit of Emptiness, The Andreas Fuyu Gutzwiller

    Originally two pieces, that are generally played as one today.

    The first short piece, Hifumi (literally '1-2-3', i. e. 'beginning'), moves in the lower register, the second forms a descending musical line
    with many interruptions.

    Hachigaeshi ('give the begging-bowl back') indicates that the piece was originally played during alms-collecting. The piece is brought to an end by an exttra piece of music that Araki Kodo II (1823-1908) composed.

Wind in the Reeds Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin

    This interesting honkyoku was often played by komuso in front of houses, and is made up of two different shorter pieces. The Hifumi or "1.2.3" melody is used as a warm-up, to flex the fingers and calm the mind: next is the Hachikaeshi, or "Returning the Bowl" melody which describes the actions of the komuso as he receives alms in his bowl: this is then followed by a section of music where he plays his gratitude on the shakuhachi, and finally, the "1.2.3" melody returns to form the conclusion.

Zen - Katsuya Yokoyama - 02 Yokoyama Katsuya

    (One, two, three, return the bowl)

    This piece was played by the Komuso or priest expressing his gratitude when he returned the bowl to the house owner after receiving alms.

Zen Music - I Yamaguchi Goro

    Hachigaeshi (returning of the bowl) means the action of a Komuso (mendicant Shakuhachi player), in returning the bowl when he is given a donation in it. This tune is an arrangement based on the feeling of gratitude for the donation. The Hifumi-no-Shirabe is a kind of prelude for adjusting the breath, moving the fingers and making preparation of one's mind. This tune of Hifumi and that of Hachigaeshi are combined and constitute the entire piece.


Zen Music with Ancient Shakuhachi - Disc 1 John Singer

    (Returning the Bowl & Gratitude For Alms Received). Originally the term “Shirabe” meant to check the sounds and move into the proper frame of mind before performing other Honkyoku (Shirabe is also called “Hon Shirabe”“ & Choshi” in other schools). Thus, “Hifumi No Shirabe” was not considered to be an independent piece. Musically “Shirabe” does not have many variations and is subdued in nature as is also the case with “Hachigaeshi”, which is why both pieces have been combined. It has been said often that if one can master this piece then they will have essentially mastered all other Honkyoku.


The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017